Ice man receives honour

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 06:00 31/12/2011

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Paul Woodgate is not the gatekeeper for Antarctica, but for 30 years no-one has travelled between New Zealand and the Ice without going through him.

The logistics team leader for Antarctica New Zealand, Woodgate ensures every person and piece of cargo bound for the continent gets there as it should.

Made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, he says having a job that touched all walks of life was reward enough.

"One week you're dealing with young students going to Antarctica for the first time, then you've got the King of Malaysia showing up."

Woodgate has prepped many New Zealand prime ministers and governors-general for the trip south, along with such famous faces as Sir Edmund Hillary and Sir David Attenborough.

Woodgate handled up to four flights to Antarctica a week in the peak summer season.

Replenishing supplies on the Ice was often the hardest part of the job, he said. "We don't have Mitre 10 just down the road. Last week we had an SOS from Scott Base. They'd run out of coffee, so we had to get a mailbag full of coffee down there."

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- The Press

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